The Shore

Not too long ago, I started watching the VlogBrothers on Youtube, and it’s safe to say I am definitely becoming a Nerdfighter. I am so addicted to their vlogs. My husband says, “Those guys talk SO FAST!” But, I always learn something by watching them rant or rave over the next thing in current events or nerddom.

The other day, Hank was talking about Feelings, and one of those Feelings was when you read a book that has a hundred different stories all going in different directions and then something shifts and brings all of those plots together at the end. Hank, I love that Feeling too! It’s such a rush, isn’t it?

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The Shore by Sara Taylor is a book that tries to accomplish that Feeling. I started it after finishing¬†Fangirl at 9 o’clock the other night, and then stayed up an extra hour and a half because I couldn’t put it down. The first quarter of the book is FANTASTIC. It’s super thrilling and emotional. I thought YES! I can’t wait to read the rest of this…but I have to get to sleep.

Each chapter is a different time period, ranging from the mid-1800s into the future. The narrators are all female, from two branches of one original family tree. Each story tells a different version of abuse, pain, strength, and a new pregnancy to continue the generation.

In theory, it’s a great book. If I were to read that synopsis, I would immediately go grab this off the shelf. In fact, the jacket cover sounds a lot like that, with a bit more detail–which is why I picked this one from the Blogging for Books review options.

However, the chapters do not go in chronological order. They skip around all over the place. You read a chapter from 1995, then skip to 1847 then 2037 then 1963. (Something like that…Not exactly that.) Even the chapters that are close together, like 1995 and 1991 may not have the same characters/situations, so it is all just extremely confusing. I kept waiting to go back to the original story from the first section, and it just never did. I just kept getting more and more confused!

I finally get a resolution at the end, but it wasn’t that Feeling. It really wasn’t much of anything, really. Very anticlimactic. It even tried to be apocalyptic/dystopian, in a book that really didn’t need to be. I dunno, this one just didn’t do it for me at all, and that is so disappointing because it started off SO strong. Usually if a book is bad, it’s bad from the beginning. The first section was a “make me stay up all night” read. The rest…nothing.

 

Blogging for Books provided this book for an unbiased review.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I will confess that Indian culture is not one I know much about. I’m learning more, since I work with some wonderful people in Bangalore, but it is such a diverse and vibrant country.

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When I saw that the Nerdfighters were reading Beyond the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, I jumped on the bandwagon, hoping to learn more about Mumbai and the Muslim side of Indian culture. What I got was a massive awakening to a very impoverished side of things. This is not the colorful Bollywood India we imagine here in America. Boo is writing about the slums and corrupted politics, collecting garbage for money, and attempted suicide. There is no pretty picture here.

I would love to say I connected deeply with the people Boo writes about, and the problems they face, that I was deeply moved by this book. But I wasn’t. I wanted to be, honestly, but I felt very disconnected. I think it is because the writing was very journalistic and disjointed for me. Sometimes it felt like a narrative, sometimes it was magazineish…I just didn’t really care for the style and it never really hooked me.

I think that it is a very important subject matter, and there is some good stuff here that people need to be aware of. I just don’t think it was as well done as it could have been. At least for someone not already informed or intune to that part of the world. Bring me into the heart of it, draw me in. I need to feel it.